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istrative and supervisory staff in charge of public education. These various activities have been introduced in varying degrees in the public school system of the District of Columbia.
We find here a system of schools established and limited by a law enacted at the very beginning of this period of development. Many extensions of education now accepted throughout this country as essential to a good system of public schools were not even contemplated at that time.
The educational system of the District of Columbia has met the demand for the extension of school activities with great difficulty under a law which severely limits the power of the Board of Education and under a financial policy tending to discourage the proper development of an organization best fitted to meet the needs of the child and the community.
During the period of the war it was felt to be impossible to finance education as completely as the needs of the schools demanded. The school system of the District of Columbia, like many other city school systems, has fallen far short of being able adequately to provide for the increased demands made upon it by an increase in school population and by the necessity of the demands providing for progressive educational activities.
Even preceding the period of the war there seems to have been no consistent policy of financial support of public education in Washington. In spite of the conclusions reached by several school inquiries and the annual presentation to Congress by the Board of Education of the need of more money for schools, financial support for the school system has not been sufficient to meet the needs of public education. As a result of this financial policy there is at present an accumulation of needs of long standing preceding the war and in addition accumulated needs as a result of the difficulties of adequately financing public education during the war.
The absence of a sympathetical constructive financial policy regarding the schools preceding the war and during the war period has produced conditions which should be improved at the earliest possible moment. The housing situation in the school system of the District of Columbia is most unsatisfactory. Overcrowded and unsatisfactory, buildings are numerous. At the time of the passage of the law of 1906 Congress created a commission to investigate the housing conditions of the school system of the District of Columbia. This commission reported in 1908, making very specific and constructive recommendations. The evidence presented to this committee shows that there are two school buildings now in use which were recommended for immediate abandonment in 1908. There are eight buildings recommended in 1908 for early appointment that are still in use, and accommodate more than 3,000 pupils. Seventy-eight portable schoolhouses are accommodating over 3,000 additional pupils. Moreover, there are 18 or 20 pieces of property rented for school purposes. In addition, many rooms in school buildings unsuited for Classroom purposes have been pressed into service during this period of school congestion.
Inadequate accommodations for pupils have resulted in the establishment of many classes in the elementary schools with over 40 pupils. On November 1, 1920, there were 444 classes with over 40 pupils per teacher. By November 11, 1921, this number had been
increased by 50 or more classes, namely, to 494. In November, 1920, there were about 1,000 pupils who were receiving less than a full day of education, and in 1922 and 1923 a still larger number of pupils were attending school only part time.
Every high school is exceeding its capacity from 200 to 600 or 700 pupils, necessitating a double shift or overlapping program in all of the high schools.
A problem of vital importance confronts the schools of the District of Columbia, which must be solved by a rational and forward looking financial policy. The amount of money appropriated for the schools in the annual appropriations bill is not even sufficient to take care of the increased enrollment of the public schools, and as a result the accumulated needs of the school system over a long period of years are being increased rather than satisfied. If the public-school system is to be adequately provided for, a systematic policy and a building program covering a period of at least 10 years must be adopted, which shall provide for the regular and continued growth of the school system from year to year, and must also provide for the needs of the school system which have resulted from the absence of such a policy in the past.
It is the purpose of this report to outline the details of what the committee believes such a policy should be.
BOARD OF EDUCATION AND ITS STATUS. The committee has invited to Washington some of the leading educators of the United States, including the Commissioner of Education. A full and frank discussion has been given by these men in regard to the needs of modern education. They have spoken freely and with the authority of experience and thoughtful consideration in their recommendations to the committee.
This testimony of educators regarding organization and functions of the Board of Education indicates that the Board of Education should have authority over the school system, its organization and administration, commensurate with the responsibilities imposed upon the board for the maintanance of an efficient and adequate system of public education.
From the testimony of Dr. Thomas E. Finegan, superintendent of public instruction for Pennsylvania: The following quotation from Doctor Finegan's testimony indicates his position regarding the Board of Education and its powers:
I should say that the first essential feature is to provide a sound plan of administration. For this there must be, in my judgment, a board of control that is charged with the responsibility of administering the school system, and that board must be given sufffcient authority and adequate means to accomplish results (p. 5).
Doctor Finegan said further:
In the State which I have the honor to represent the directors of school affairs have been absolutely independent in every way from municipal control since 1911 (p. 6).
In reply to a question from one of the members of the committee as to whether he believed in a separate board, Doctor Finegan said:
I believe absolutely in a separate board. I think the experience of the whole country shows that in those cities whose boards of education have been given independence and power there have been better school systems than in those whose boards have been dependent upon other bodies. I think, too, you will find that boards possessing such independence have been as economical in administering the schools and as considerate of the interests and rights of taxpayers as boards have been in such matters who did not have such independence. I think you will find that to be the judgment of students of education throughout the country (p. 7).
From testimony of Dr. Randall J. Condon, superintendent of schools, Cincinnati, Ohio: After stating to Doctor Condon that the Washington school budget is now a part of the business of the District Commissioners, Senator Capper asked Doctor Condon the following question, and the testimony quoted herewith followed:
Senator Capper. Would you think under the conditions existing here, where we can not have an election under the present law, we would get any better result if the Board of Education had entire control of the financing of the schools?
Mr. Condon. I believe you would. Of course, I can not say how good results you have been getting.
Mr. HAMMER. Do you think there are any places where they have entire control? Mr. CONDON. Yes; in many cities. Senator King. With some restrictions? Mr. HAMMER. Certainly; there must be some restrictions as to the levying of taxes. Mr. CONDON. Congress would be the reviewing body of the Board of Education, but I think the board itself should make up its budget, independent of other city activities, because it is administering it for the benefit of education. They should put up their budget to whatever committee passes upon it without reference to other city functions (pp. 34-35).
From the testimony of Dr. John J. Tigert, United States Commissioner of Education:
The hope of an adequate and permanent solution of the difficulty lies in conferring responsibility for the control and management of the schools upon a non paid lay board of education, responsible directly to the people of the District, for the education of whose children the schools are maintained (p. 62).
The system of control recommended for the public schools of the District of Columbia should embody the following feature:
Fiscal independence. --The board of education should be given authority and responsibility to maintain and direct the schools, without interference from any source in the details of management, subject only to such legislative restrictions as would be analogous to the State legislation affecting the school system of a city of similar size located in one of the States (pp. 62–63).
It should be the function of the Board of Education to establish policies and to select administrative and executive officers. Neither the board nor any of its members should exercise administrative functions. It should not be the business of the Board of Education to run the school system, but to select officers and hold them responsible for operating the school system in accordance with general policies established and defined by the Board of Education.
In recent years much attention has been directed toward the manner in which the Board of Education in Washington shall be selected. While this is a matter of some importance, it is of minor importance compared with the authority and responsibility which is imposed in the Board of Education. A board of education selected in the most ideal manner can not operate effectively unless it is clothed with authority.
The committee recommends that legislation be enacted which shall provide for-
(a) Appointment of the Board of Education by the President of the United States subject to confirmation by the Senate.
(b) Financial independence of the Board of Education from the Commissioners of the District.
(c) Management of the schools and school buildings, and all pertaining thereto, by the Board of Education.
THE ADMINISTRATIVE AND SUPERVISORY STAFF.
The superintendent should be the chief executive and an administrative officer under the Board of Education. All other employees should be subordinate to the superintendent of schools.
The administrative staff in public schools of the District of Columbia to-day is practically the same in size that it was in 1906, when the school system was only about three-fourths as large as it is to-day.
The committee believes that the staff at headquarters of the Board of Education should be increased in order to dispatch satisfactorily the increased responsibilities imposed upon that staff as a result of extensions and developments of the school system. The committee recommends
That a business manager, who shall rank as an assistant superintendent of schools, should be appointed, under whom should be coordinating all of the business affairs of the Board of Education, now distributed under several different educational employees.
It has been the expressed feeling of the educators who have appeared before the committee that the most progressive and efficient school systems of the country are those school systems in which there is a comparatively much larger administrative and supervisory staff than exists in the District of Columbia.
LEGISLATION Now BEFORE CONGRESS. The committee indorses the following legislation, now before Congress:
First. Senate bill 3136 and House bill 10390, an act to amend the act entitled "An act to fix and regulate the salaries of teachers, school officers, and other employees of the Board of Education of the District of Columbia," approved June 20, 1906, and for other purposes. This is not only a bill for readjusting the compensation of educational employees, but it is a bill which carries important legislation. It is essential that this legislation be enacted into law, if the school system is to be developed in accordance with modern educational thought.
Second. Senate bill 2040 and House bill 72, known as the compulsory school attendance and school census bill. This bill provides a better attendance law and an annual school census. The bill creates a department of school attendance and work permits, with which department the child-labor office is to be consolidated.
Third. Senate bill 2860 and House bill 9543, providing for free textbooks and educational supplies for all pupils in the high, junior high, kindergarten, elementary schools in the District of Columbia. Free textbooks and educational supplies are now furnished elementary school pupils, in the appropriations act from year to year. This bill makes statutory provision for free textbooks and extends the same privilege to the high-school pupils.
INCREASED APPROPRIATIONS FOR IMMEDIATE EDUCATIONAL
In the interests of increased educational service the committee recommends increased appropriations for:
INCREASED APPROPRIATIONS NEEDED FOR UPKEEP, PERMANENT
IMPROVEMENTS TO BUILDINGS, AND PERMANENT EQUIPMENT.
After personal inspection of many of the school buildings in the District, the committee believes that increased appropriations are necessary as follows:
For improving the lighting of school buildings.
For replacing equipment in commercial departments in high schools.
For increasing general equipment to accommodate increased enrollments in high schools.
For upkeep and physical improvement of school buildings.
TEN-YEAR BUILDING PROGRAM.
Aside from the qualifications of the personnel of the teaching staff, the committee feels that adequate schoolhouse accommodations are of most importance in any system of public education.
The construction of school buildings in the District of Columbia was practically suspended during the period of the war. Even though building costs have not yet returned to pre-war standards, the committee believes that further delay in providing schoolhouse accommodations is unwarranted. The education of the next generation now in our public schools must not be jeopardized through any failure on the part of those who appropriate school moneys to provide adequately for their proper instruction and training. The committee recommends that a definite policy be adopted which shall provide from year to year sufficient schoolhouse accommodations, in order that it make it possible for the Board of Education to eliminate part-time instruction, the use of portable schoolhouses, the use of undesirable school buildings now accommodating classes, and the reduction of the size of classes in both elementary and high schools to the standard generally accepted as desirable.
LARGER SCHOOL UNITS.
The committee indorses the policy of establishing larger units of administration in the elementary schools. Economy of administration and educational advantages of great value will be obtained by creating school units of considerable size. These units should be